Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The Suez Canal achieves a historic turnover in 2021

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, January 4th 2022 à 16:30 | Read 325 times

12% of the world's goods traffic passes through the Suez Canal (photo: SCA)
12% of the world's goods traffic passes through the Suez Canal (photo: SCA)
EGYPT. With $6.3 billion (€5.57 billion) in revenues generated in 2021 (compared to $5.6 billion in 2020), the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has achieved a record turnover never before achieved in its history, according to Georges Safwat. The SCA spokesman said that 20,694 ships, or more than fifty-six ships per day, transited through the famous maritime route linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, 10% more than the previous year. They transported nearly 1.3 billion tonnes of goods.

Up by 12.8% compared to 2020, the passage fees of these ships represented about 3% of Egypt's Gross National Product. In 2022, the Egyptian state-owned SCA has decided to increase these fees by 6% for most ships.

This excellent result comes at a time when the pandemic has slowed down transport activity around the world and the Suez Canal has suffered a total blockage of six days in March 2021. After a false manoeuvre, the container ship Ever Given, owned by the Taiwanese shipowner Evergreen, completely paralysed traffic, causing huge maritime traffic jams, the diversion of 400 ships and a loss of turnover estimated at between $12 and $15 million per day (€10.6 to 13.3 million). The insurer Allianz calculated that the blockade had cost between $6 and $10bn (€5.3 to 8.8bn) to world trade.

The case ended, after a three-month detention of the offending vessel (protective arrest) in Egypt, with its departure on 7 July 2021 thanks to an indemnity agreement allowing SCA to pocket $540m (€477.7m) in compensation. In addition to the loss of revenue, this payment also covered the cost of rescuing Ever Given and the damage to the canal caused by its grounding.

​13.2 bn turnover expected in 2023

12% of the world's freight traffic passes through the Suez Canal.

In 2015, a new 72 km long track was dug in parallel to the existing one to allow simultaneous traffic in both directions. The €7bn project was expected to double revenues ($5bn at the time) by 2023. On completion of the work, the Egyptian authorities even forecast a turnover of $13.2 billion (€11.7 billion) in 2023. Even with the historical record of $6.3bn in 2021, it will be difficult to achieve this result in two years.

Read also: Suez Canal: an overprotected but still fragile infrastructure


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